Separating VA Claim Myth, Rumor And Fact

Posted on: 23 September 2015

The Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claim system has a major impact on veterans, especially those with conditions that make day-to-day activities an uphill battle. With performance issues, scandals and confusing requirements, getting a quick approval can be a daunting task. Whether you're on your first claim, considering whether a claim is worth the effort or working on an appeal, a look at a few popular misconceptions and comparing facts about the VA can help you make a more informed decision.

Every VA Facility Is Different

Before getting too deep into rumors and performance issues, it's important to know that every VA facility has a different staff and different potential benefits or problems.

When looking at different scandals within the VA or complaints about the VA service, you need to know the exact office that was involved. Many of these complaints are about a specific clinic, hospital or a regional office that wasn't performing properly. 

Many debates spawn because of these unfortunate clashes in information. A veteran in Vermont or Arkansas may have cleared their claim with no problems at all, while veterans in California may be dealing with long wait times and lost information. Even though the offices operate under the same department, the experiences are very different.

The experiences should be the same. Civilians or veterans freshly discharged from the military may argue that since the VA serves the uniformed services, all facilities should be the same. While this is true and should be a goal for the VA, like any other organization in human history, individuals affect performance, and different offices may have a few poorly-performing individuals. 

Push your claim through to another office and follow through with your complaints after you've been helped by a competent office.

Myths And Misconceptions

A lot of information comes from either assumptions by previous veterans or old policies that aren't in place. It's simple to ask multiple VA representatives to clarify the information, but if you're working with an especially stubborn veteran (or if you've been known to stick to your guns), it's time to remind yourself of the one constant in the military: everything changes.

  • Myth 1: "You can't go to another clinic! The documents are here!" Some older veterans assume that all of their files are located at a specific VA clinic, and that moving the documents could cause trouble. This is a very valid concern, as even modern veterans can attest to medical record pages or entire records being lost when moving to another room--let alone another building. Thankfully, VA clinics don't hold your main record. Records are now digital, and part of a computer network that can be accessed at any facility.
  • Myth 2: "The claim was denied, so it's over." You can appeal your claim as many times as you want. It's possible for the VA to make mistakes, and it's your responsibility to submit information to prove them wrong. If you're missing information or need help, a personal injury lawyer may be necessary to craft a great argument in your case.
  • Myth 3: "You can't work while on VA disability." This myth seems to have carried over from Social Security disability, which has policies about how much you're able to earn before disability is denied. The VA's disability system is different, allowing veterans to work unless their disability is at a certain rating.

If you've received conflicting information from the VA, have been denied repeatedly or don't think you're receiving the right amount of disability benefits, contact a personal injury lawyer like Elliott & MacLean LLP to discuss your claim and ways to get the treatment you deserve.